How I feel when people call me Nigerian – Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle

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Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, on Saturday said it was always a humbling experience when people complement her Nigerian heritage. 

Markle who described Nigeria as her country said finding out through a genealogy test that she was partly Nigerian was also a humbling experience for her.

According to Associated Press, Meghan made the confession while speaking at a programme organised by women in leadership and co-hosted by Nigerian economist and Head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Abuja.

NewsClick Nigeria reports that the Duchess of Sussex has been in the country since Friday along with her husband, Prince Harry to promote mental health for wounded soldiers and young girls in the country.

Recall that the Duchess of Sussex had announced on her podcast in October 2022 that she found out through the DNA-based test that she was “43% Nigerian.”

But while addressing the women in leadership at the Abuja event, she re-echoed her Nigerian roots, calling the African giant “my country”, saying, “It’s been eye-opening to be able to know more about my heritage.”

“Never in a million years would I understand it as much as I do now. And what has been echoed so much in the past day is, ‘Oh, we are not so surprised when we found out you are Nigerian.

“It is a compliment to you because what they define as a Nigerian woman is brave, resilient, courageous, beautiful,” Meghan told the audience.

Meghan was at the event to join female industry leaders such as Okonjo-Iweala in discussing the importance of mentorship for young women and the career challenges women face in a country like Nigeria, where it is not common for women to be in top leadership and political positions.

Asked by the anchor about how she feels about becoming the first woman and first African to lead the WTO, Okonjo-Iweala said it was long overdue.

“When I will feel right is when we stop saying, ‘the first woman to do this… to do that’. I have mixed feelings about being the first woman because I think women should have been there already,” she said.

She also spoke about mentors who have helped her career, including as Nigeria’s former finance minister.

One way to mentor young girls is by “returning home” to be closer to them, Meghan said, citing the case of Okonjo-Iweala as an example.

“You need to come back home, you need to, at least, be a familiar face for the next generation to say, ‘Oh she looks like me and I can be that’,” she added.